“Confidence; a reliance or resting of the mind on the integrity, veracity, justice, friendship or other sound principle of another person” (KJV Bible Dictionary).
I’m thinking that if I were to take a survey on people’s feelings about trust, most people wouldn’t say it’s their favorite thing to talk about. And in the broken world in which we live, I get that. Trust is one of my more difficult battles.
Trust is one of those things that can be radically affected by one circumstance in your life. When we give someone our trust, we are expecting them to follow through; keep their word, stay true to their promise, keep something private, etcetera. And when they don’t, that damages our trust. And for most people, it doesn’t just hurt that relationship, but our ability to trust entirely. If trust is broken, it can take a lot more people respecting your trust to put it back together. I pray that your experience with trust has been a good one, or if not that it will one day be.
Think about the most trustworthy people in your life; those that have really earned your trust. For me it would be my mom and my best friend/co-blogger, Amy. Have there been times in your life when those people, even the most trustworthy ones, have messed up? When they’ve forgotten to do something they said they would, slipped out something you hoped would remain private, or really hurt you? I think with these people, we know their track record and we know their heart, so it can be a little easier to move past. In the best cases, the trust may not be broken, but bruised. We can still trust these people, even though they aren’t perfect. We trust imperfect people.
I want to talk about one other character in our lives that most of us have trouble fully trusting. God. There are quite a few stories in the Bible of God following through on His goodness and promises, here are a few of my favorites.
The book of Esther: Esther was a Jewish woman who found herself chosen by the King, King Xerxes, as his new wife at the same time as an associate of the King had gotten approval to destroy all the Jews under Xerxes’ rule. Esther’s faith in God and God’s perfect timing saved the Jews. Esther 4:14b says, “And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Who knows, but God, when we have been given an opportunity specifically to fulfill God’s purpose. We must listen, trust, and be faithful to God’s leading.
Daniel 3: The book of Daniel contains so much more than the two famous stories I’ll mention here, but this is one of my favorite stories of God’s faithfulness. Three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who believed in YHWH, worked for King Nebuchadnezzar. When these men refused to follow the King’s orders to bow down to a statue of the King, they were commanded to be thrown into the furnace at seven times its normal heat. These men stood by God and said, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up” (Daniel 3:16-18). Even if God didn’t save them, they remained faithful to Him. When they were thrown into the furnace, the guards handling them were burned up. But the King saw four men, not three, standing inside and called God great for sending an angel to save them. The three men walked out, with not even a hair on their head singed. And the result of their trust in God was not only the saving of their own lives, but King Nebuchadnezzar declared that no other God could save in this way! Their faithfulness and trust brought God glory on a bigger scale than they could imagine. And that could not have been an easy thing to face.
Daniel 6: Daniel was a man respected by King Darius; he was a satrap, a local ruler. Because Daniel was so good at his job, the other satraps and administrators wanted to find grounds to essentially fire Daniel. They had no luck, Daniel was a good man. So the satraps convinced King Darius to write a decree that declared that if anyone prayed to another god or human except the king, they would be killed. The King agreed, not knowing this was a trap for Daniel. Daniel heard the news and went home immediately and prayed. The satraps caught him in the act and the King could do nothing to save him, though he tried. Daniel was thrown into the den of lions. King Darius said “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” (Daniel 6:16). The night passed and the King went to see what happened. Daniel lived; the mouths of the lions were closed by God and Daniel was completely unharmed. King Darius gave glory to God and issued a decree of worship of the true God. The King had the plotting satraps thrown into the den and they were immediately devoured. I used to hear this story a lot as a kid, but I never really understood what it meant. Daniel put his trust in the Lord in a moment where he should have died. And not only did he not die, but he brought God glory through his trust and faith.
God is always faithful. These are just a few stories, which a lot of you have probably heard before, where God proves Himself trustworthy. And these may seem like big stories of grand things, and they are. But the grandness of it comes from ordinary people trusting an extraordinary God. Then God does the work and gets the glory!
So let’s go back to talking about trusting people. We trust imperfect people, yet we have a hard time trusting a perfect God. It is tough to navigate the questions and concerns about trusting God: people are right in front of us while God is invisible; God didn’t do that one thing I wanted that one time; someone close to me is sick, has passed away, and so on! And these moments can be very trying. Trusting God isn’t about telling Him exactly what we want and Him giving it. It’s about surrendering the things we hold dear to Him and letting Him do what’s best with it.
What’s your hardest thing to trust God with? Maybe it’s a couple things, a person, a situation, timing, whatever it is. Take time to pray and really surrender those things to God. I read somewhere recently about physically holding out your hand in a bowl shape, saying all the things we need to trust God with out loud into the bowl, and releasing it to God. Let it go, you never know what God can do with it and with you if you trust Him! You might just be made for such a time as this.